Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Planning for a Retreat - Part 1

Attending a weekend retreat or crop can be such a great experience and so productive for crafters.  However, I know there are several long time scrapbookers/paper crafters who have never experienced a weekend retreat because the idea of what to do and what to pack is too daunting. I have my fall retreat at the end of October so I thought that as I plan and prepare for the event, I would share what I do.  Hopefully I can inspire others to give it a try because they truly are an incredible weekend away!

This will be a two part series (planning & packing).  The first part focuses on planning your projects.  Pre-planning and prepping kits, for me, is key to a productive weekend.

Make a To do List
The number one thing that I suggest is to make a list and start that list early!  I sometimes start it months before the crop and will just add to it whenever something comes to mind.  As we get closer to the weekend, I would say 2 to 3 weeks out, depending on how much time you can set aside to prepare, go through that list and narrow it down and prioritize.

A few notes about the list... everyone is different.  Some people are very social at crops and like to visit. Others are very much focused on getting things accomplished.  Depending on the type of cropper you are, your lists will be very different.  Make sure your list isn't so long that you are going to feel unproductive if you only get a couple things checked off.  Also - make sure the items on your list are achievable for YOU and your style of crafting. Setting a goal of scrapbooking an entire year in a weekend when you scrapbook traditionally may not be achievable.  However, if you use pocket pages, maybe it is.  You know how you work, take that into consideration when making your list.

If you are attending a crop it's likely because you love to craft, but when you think about a whole weekend of doing just one thing - that's a lot of hours to fill.  I like having different types of projects on my list.  For example: scrapbooking; Project Life; Christmas cards; thank you gifts; mixed media projects; knitting etc.  Each item is a little different, and requires different degrees of creativity. I also like to have a few things that don't require a lot of thinking for when I experience a creative road block.  Because let's face it, when you are crafting from sun up to sun down, you are bound to hit a few creative road blocks. Kits come in handy at times like these (Paper Pumpkin, scrapbook kits, card kits etc.).  Or if there are classes offered at the retreat, this would be a great time to do those. Those are also the times I get up and check out what everyone else is doing.  These retreats are great for sharing ideas and learning from others.  They really get your creative juices flowing!

Print Photos
Before moving on to the next step, if you are going to the retreat and plan on scrapbooking, it's time to have your photos printed.  It seems like an obvious step but you need your photos before you can complete the next step so I wanted to add that in:)

Pre-planned Kits
So now that your list is made what do you do?

This is where I head to Pinterest and check my boards for inspiration.  I try not to look for NEW ideas at the point because we all know that can be a time sucker.  So I go to what I have pinned and see if any of those ideas will work for things on my list. I've pinned them because I love the ideas so now is the time for me to use them! Let's say that one of the items on my list is Christmas cards for family and friends.  I will go to the appropriate board and find something I love that will work, keeping in mind, how many I need to make and how involved they are. Once I find the idea, I  determine how many cards I need to make and pull out the supplies (stamps, ink, card stock, patterned paper, and embellishments) that I need to create them.  If I have time, I will precut some of the supplies, but not always, and package those supplies all together.  I find large Ziploc bags work well or any other type of pouch. In the package, I also include a sketch, notes or a reference back to where I found the project.

I repeat this step with most of my to do list items.  For layouts, I include the photos, patterned paper, card stock and embellishments.  I will also include a sketch on a sticky note if I have one in mind for those particular photos.

If I have an event with lots of photos - like a holiday - that I want to document. I store my travel journal, the photos, any of the memorabilia we collected, the card stock, patterned paper and anything else I think I may need, together in an Iris container.  This makes it easy for me to pull out the one container when I'm ready to work on that project.

This step will likely take the longest and I recommend doing it a week or two before the retreat so that you know if there are any supplies that you may need to order or purchase before heading out.

I have found, after attending several retreats, that these steps have helped me be as productive as possible.  I am one of those hard core crafters at the retreats.  I go to get a LOT accomplished.  Last fall I had 18 things on my list and completed 15 of them.  That, for me, was a success.  However, many people attend weekend retreats to get away, for them it doesn't matter how much they accomplish.  And that's alright!  Everyone attends these events for different reasons and has different expectations.

If you are interested in more organizing tips and tricks for all areas of your life, I've started a Facebook group - Organizing Solutions 360.  I'd love to have you join us!

Have a creative day!

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